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ARTICLE
Year : 2006  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 130-135

Substance abuse among secondary school adolescents in Enugu


Department of Psychological Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
F E Okwaraji
Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, P.M.B. 1129, Enugu
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Aim: The study aims at finding out the pattern of substance use among secondary school adolescents in Enugu. Method: A total of 300 secondary school students (150 males and 150 females) aged between 10 and 18 years (adolescents) were randomly selected using simple random sampling technique from five secondary schools in Enugu metropolis. The schools reflected the type of secondary schools in Enugu metropolis. That is public, mission, private, day and boarding schools. The subjects were selected from junior secondary one to senior secondary three classes after permission was obtained from the school authorities concerned. Data was collected using pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaire containing information on socio-demographic variables as well as data on substance use. Results: Out of 300 adolescents who participated in the study, 272 (141 males and 131 females) completed and returned their questionnaires properly while 28 (9 males and 19 females) did not complete their questionnaires properly and were therefore discarded. This gives a proper response rate of 90.7%. Out of the 272 properly completed questionnaires 77 (28.3%), (12 males and 65 females), were found not to be involved in substance use and were therefore regarded as non “cases”, while 195 (71.1%), (129 males and 66 females), who were involved in substance use were regarded as “cases”. Further analysis on the cases revealed some of the following: (1) A substance use prevalence rate of 71.7%, (2) 81.5% of the adolescents substance users were males as against 18.4% who were females, giving a male -female ratio of approximately 4:1' The average age of the adolescents was 12.3 years. 66.7% came from monogamous homes while 33.3% came from polygamous homes. Beer was the major substance taken by the adolescents (35.9%) with 18.9% taking it at least once a day. Bar/restaurants were the most preferred place for taking these substances, while in the company of other adolescents. The substances were taken mainly to facilitate social activities, relieve worry and anxiety and to facilitate reading. Conclusion: In view of the high involvement of adolescents in substance use and giving the danger arising there-from it is concluded that government should ban under aged youths and adolescents from consuming alcohol and enforce the smoking edict. They should also be banned from purchasing alcohol and other psychotropic substances from the shops or market. Furthermore there should be regular psychological counseling in schools to help adolescents be aware of the dangers arising from substance abuse.


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